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Restoring the Timetable of Sabbath and Jubilee Years

See also:
Saturn, Venus, Jubilee correlation

Introduction

I don’t know why I’ve been allowed to see these things that I’m about to share. For most of my life I’ve kept matters of prophecy and speculation about the future at arm’s length. It just wasn’t all that important to me, being content just in knowing that God will bring everything together in whatever way He chooses, and that I can trust Him to choose what’s best. I’ve never entered into the debates about the tribulation and when the rapture is likely to occur with respect to it – again for the same reason.

But several years ago I was drawn into a piece of astronomical research by a compelling story I heard, explaining the Bethlehem Star in terms that could readily be checked out and verified. I liked the story, and was tempted to just believe it for its own sake. But why stop there? Why not thoroughly check it out, and let the evidence speak for itself? So I did that. I began checking it out.

Now, if a story is just a fabrication, when you zoom in on it for close inspection, you can usually expect to fairly quickly find details that don’t line up – details that were missed or glossed over by the original researcher, in his desire to just come up with a good story and support it with some facts.

But in this research, what I’ve kept finding instead as I zoom in on the details – instead of contradictory evidence that chips away at the foundation of the case, what I keep finding is unexpected additional support for it, in the end supporting not only the original story, but also a broader picture that nobody had even imagined was there.

In my previous writeup, “Rediscovering an Ancient Chronology,” I’ve addressed the original story and the first “bigger picture” that the research led me into. But it didn’t stop there. Though there have been numerous places where I’ve gotten bogged down and could easily have been fully derailed, I’ve continued to be brought back on track by some small insight that points to the next step, as if the Lord is quietly whispering to me “Have you considered looking at it from the perspective of…”

A specific case of this along the way was when I read the date “587 BC” in the introduction to a choir anthem I was practicing at our church in Pasadena – an anthem which expressed the deep sorrow over the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the first Temple. I was compelled as soon as I got home to look and see what, if anything, might have been happening in the heavens at that point in history.

And then a major one was an insight that just came to me in prayer. I woke up and was praying in the middle of the night, deeply troubled over the conflicts I’d been hearing about in the Middle East. I was asking the Lord why. Why do these particular conflicts have to be so unending and unsolvable? His answer was just a simple phrase from Scripture, “the Prince of Persia.”

I went to my Bible, and the phrase quickly led me directly to the account of Daniel’s vision on the bank of the Tigris River in the third year of Cyrus. These conflicts we hear about in the Middle East are things that have been going on for a very long time. They’re not over yet, and despite the best efforts of the most skilled politicians and negotiators, there won’t be an easy solution. Though the Lord does expect us to walk in His Spirit and do all that’s in our power to bring peace and justice to the world, there are times when it’s all way over our heads, and the only impact we can really make is what we accomplish through prayer. As pointed out by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

So I carefully studied the account of Daniel’s vision, and once again was compelled to look and see what, if anything, might have been happening in the heavens at that point in history.

As detail after detail has fallen into place, another factor has come into play too, driving me forward, further motivating me in this research. That factor has to do with the weight of cumulative evidence. As more and more pieces of the puzzle are found to just naturally fit together with no need for tampering with details to force a fit, it becomes less and less plausible that all these things are fitting together just by random chance. It becomes more and more certain that these things all fit together simply because this is how they really happened. And it has to do with the nature of the Solar System – that what year a particular conjunction would occur, and from where on earth people would see it, had to have been predetermined long ago, back when the planets were first placed in their orbits around the Sun.

Seeing the strength of the evidence that so many significant events have genuinely been marked in the stars, and at the same time being aware that so much of what we see in the heavens is fixed and unchanging, having been predetermined since the dawn of time, this brings up deep questions about how this all came about. Someone had to have known all of this in advance. In order to mark these events in the stars, someone had to have known precisely how history would unfold; what events needed to be marked in the stars; precisely how the orbit of each planet needed to be fine tuned in order to produce these signs in the heavens; and then He had to have the ability to do it.

There aren’t a lot of choices. It has to have been the very One who created the heavens and the Earth. No one else could possibly have the depth of understanding and creative power to have accomplished what we see right here in front of us, with our own eyes, to have been accomplished. The whole picture of these astronomical observations becomes a magnificent, powerful testimony to who God is. A story that must be told.

Though I don’t know why I’ve been allowed to see these things – having seen them, I’m reminded of Matthew 5:14 which says, “people don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” For whatever reason, it seems that God has chosen this time to begin to reveal some things which long have been hidden. Probably because the time of the end truly is near. Perhaps we’ve reached a tipping point where the value to our lives of having this knowledge and using it to make wise choices and navigate the stormy waters ahead outweighs the potential threat that some people may find ways to misuse it.

The Study

This study is centered around a data table in an excel spreadsheet that I’ve made available along with this pdf document. I’m including the spreadsheet in pdf form as well, but to really see and understand the things I’ll be describing, it would be most valuable to play with the live spreadsheet yourself, adjusting the parameters and seeing how they affect the endpoints of the marked time period of the data table. For some of you the easiest thing might be to view and experiment with the spreadsheet online. You can do this at Saturn, Venus, Jubilee correlation.

The data table highlights and allows exploration of the pattern of correlations between Saturn/Regulus conjunctions, Venus/Regulus conjunctions, and the 49-year Jubilee cycle of the Hebrew calendar. The data is presented in six columns, each having 5 datapoints in each row, in such a way that, for example, the second datapoint of a given row of the first column corresponds to the second datapoint of the same row of the second column, and similarly for the other four columns. Thus for a given conjunction we have ready access to six different pieces of information, one in each of the six columns.

Column 2 “Year of S/R conjunction”

This column shows the year of each conjunction of Saturn with the star Regulus. This data was generated by the Solex program (see http://www.solexorb.it/SolexOld/), a powerful numerical integrator which models the dynamics of the Solar System, designed by Aldo Vitagliano. If you have a favorite planetarium program like Stellarium or Starry Night, you should be able to readily reproduce these results for dates as far back as about 3000-4000 BC. As you go further back (or forward) into time though, you’ll begin to notice differences, due to inherent limitations of the ephemerides-based approach of ordinary planetarium programs.

If you’re using Stellarium, note that in the spring of 2013 that program took a major step forward by implementing “Delta T”. The main significance of this for our present study is that now we can get a fairly accurate reading on whether a given eclipse was visible for a particular location on earth, and what time it likely occurred. So if you’re using an older version of Stellarium, please update to the latest. It’s free, available at http://www.stellarium.org/

For the numbering of the years note that we’re using the astronomical system of counting, in which 940 BC is the year ‑939, 2 BC is the year -1, 1 BC is the year 0, 1 AD is the year 1, etc. These are Gregorian years for the Gregorian era, after 1582 AD, and Julian years for all years before that.

For double or triple conjunctions there are typically several months between the initial conjunction and its re-occurrences, with the last occurrence in a different year than the first when using the Julian or Gregorian calendar. It’s the year of the initial conjunction that’s being shown here in Column 2.

I’ll come back and explain the color highlighting of this column after we’ve looked at the other columns on which this highlighting is based.

Column 1 “Years between S/R conj’s”

This column is calculated from Column 2, showing the number of years from one conjunction to the next. An interesting detail which comes to light here is that the number of years between Saturn/Regulus conjunctions is analogous to the number of days between new moons – alternating between 29 and 30 days in the case of new moons, and between 29 and 30 years in the case of Saturn’s conjunctions. To make the pattern more easily identifiable, the 30-year cases and the 29-year cases are highlighted in different colors. A few things to notice:

  • 29-year spans occur a little more frequently than 30-year spans.
  • There are never two consecutive 30’s.
  • There occasionally are two consecutive 29’s, with three cases of this in each block of 35 conjunctions.
  • Most rows have three 29’s and two 30’s, but two rows in each block have two 29’s and three 30’s.
  • This results in a total time span of 1031 years for each block, a number which we’ll see to be very significant.

There’s a pattern which repeats every 35 conjunctions – repeating, but at the same time gradually shifting. The data has been subdivided into these blocks of 35 to make the pattern easier to recognize and examine. Pick a block and compare it to the following block. Where there’s a difference, think of it in terms of the shifting left or right of a 30, thus changing the position of a double 29 next to it. You’ll find the pattern only gradually changing from one block to the next, with typically just 1-3 of the 30’s shifting in each block. There are also occasional cases where the pattern holds steady, not changing at all. To see an example of holding steady with no change, compare the 5th and 6th blocks, beginning in ‑2088 and ‑1057.

Column 3 “Point in Jubilee cycle”

There’s a very interesting mathematical correlation between a 29/30-year cycle of Saturn/Regulus conjunctions and a 49-year cycle of Jubilee years. Five Saturn/Regulus conjunctions mark out a span of either 147 or 148 years:

  •  29  +  30  +  29  +  30  +  29  = 147 years
  •  30  +  29  +  30  +  29  +  30  = 148 years

Looking at Column 1 of the table we can see that these are the only two possibilities. The numbers can be in different orders than this, but in every case there are either three 29’s and two 30’s, or two 29’s and three 30’s. The 147-year span is the more common of the two, with 5 occurrences in each 1031‑year block, while each 1031‑year block has just 2 occurrences of the 148-year spans.

What do we get if we divide 147 by 3? Precisely 49. This means that in most cases a span of 5 Saturn/Regulus conjunctions is equivalent to a span of 3 Jubilees. This is part of the reason for arranging the data table in blocks with 5 conjunctions in each row. It’s arranged in such a way that one row represents not only 5 conjunctions, but also 3 Jubilee cycles. Note that:

  •  1031 = (21 x 49) + 2 

In each block of 35 conjunctions then, equal in length to 1031 years, we’ll have 21 Jubilees + 2 years. These extra 2 years come from the two 148-year rows in each block. We’ll see later that these extra 2 years have an important function in the overall pattern.

Column 3 is set up to show the relationship between the conjunction dates and the 49-year Jubilee cycle. There are 49 possible ways to align a 49-year cycle to the historical timeline, and not all scholars agree on the correct alignment. So to allow for flexibility in this, Column 3 uses a parameter called “initial Jubilee alignment”, by which the alignment can be adjusted, setting it to any of the 49 possible alignments. The place to enter this parameter is just above the third 1031-year block. It’s been set up so that a value of “0” gives the alignment that the historical and astronomical cues have pointed to as most likely to be correct. Changing this to “1” then shifts the cycle ahead by a year, “-1” shifts it back by a year, and so on.

The number in each cell of Column 3 tells us for a given Jubilee alignment, at what point in the Jubilee cycle that particular Saturn/Regulus conjunction would occur. For example, if the number is “2”, that conjunction occurred 2 years after a Jubilee year. If the number is “‑2”, it occurred 2 years before a Jubilee year. The points we’re most interested in are those where the conjunction was actually in a Jubilee year. These are marked with “0” and highlighted in color, with “1” and “-1” also highlighted in color just to indicate that they’re pretty close to “0” – as close as they can be without actually being”0”.

One other detail on which scholars disagree is – some say that during the Babylonian exile there was a break in the counting of years for Sabbath year and Jubilee purposes, while others just use one continuous count for the entire historical time period. To allow for flexibility on this question of a break or pause in the counting, Column 3 uses a second parameter called “discontinuity”. The place to enter this parameter is just above the sixth 1031-year block. To see how a break in the counting of years would affect the Jubilee cycle, just enter the length of the break here. For instance, if the counting of years was stopped at some point, and then was recommenced 30 years later, the number to enter as the discontinuity would be “30”. To see how the Jubilees would play out with no discontinuity at all, just set this parameter to “0”. A discontinuity of “12” gives the alignment that the historical and astronomical cues point to as most likely to be correct. And a discontinuity of “61” gives exactly the same result, since 61 is the same as 12 plus one full Jubilee cycle. The black line between ‑586 and ‑556 shows roughly where this break likely occurred, though it probably actually began a bit before ‑586 and ended a bit after ‑556. We’ll go into more detail later on the likely beginning and ending dates for the break.

Column 4 “S/R conjunction type”

This column indicates whether the Saturn/Regulus conjunction that year was triple (S3), double (S2), or single (S1). Usually the choice between these three types is clear and straightforward, but there are borderline cases where a triple is almost a double, or a double is almost a single. A separation of 1.5 degrees is the boundary line that was used to decide these borderline cases. In other words, if Saturn came within 1.5 degrees of Regulus three times that year, it counts as a triple. If in one of those cases they were still more than 1.5 degrees apart at their closest approach, then that case isn’t counted as a conjunction, making the overall conjunction type for the year just double rather than triple.

Column 6 “Closeness of V/R conj”

Venus/Regulus conjunctions occur quite frequently; about once a year on the average. We won’t be paying attention to all of these conjunctions, but just to those which occur within a year of a Saturn/Regulus conjunction. This means looking at Venus/Regulus conjunctions occurring in the same year, or in the previous or following year. This can include up to four or five Venus/Regulus conjunctions, so these had to be evaluated, choosing the most significant one to be included in the table. I’m taking the closeness of the Venus/Regulus conjunction to be the best measure of its significance. So what’s shown in this column is the separation in degrees of the closest Venus/Regulus conjunction which occurred either in the same year as the current Saturn/Regulus conjunction or the year before it or the year after.

Column 5 “Timing of V/R conj”

Looking again at the same Venus/Regulus conjunction described in Column 6, this column describes more specifically when it occurred in relation to the Saturn/Regulus conjunction. Each year has been subdivided into three segments as follows:

  • Segment “C” begins at that year’s conjunction between Regulus and the Sun. From the perspective of conjunctions of the planets with Regulus, this point, Regulus’ crossing of the Sun, serves as the beginning of the year, with all occurrences of a double or triple conjunction occurring in this same “Regulus year”.
  • Segment “A” begins at that year’s Hebrew New Year, at the start of the seventh lunar month. For the era of history being considered here, Segment A always follows Segment C.
  • Segment “B” begins at that year’s Julian or Gregorian New Year, on Jan 1. For the era of history being considered here, Segment B always follows Segment A.

Column 5 indicates the timing of the conjunction in terms of which year and which segment of the year, as follows:

C- Segment C, previous year
A- Segment A, previous year
B- Segment B, previous year
C1 Segment C, same year as Saturn/Regulus conjunction
A1 Segment A, same year as Saturn/Regulus conjunction
B1 Segment B, same year as Saturn/Regulus conjunction
C2 Segment C, same year as Saturn/Regulus conjunction
A+ Segment A, following year
B+ Segment B, following year
C+ Segment C, following year

 

Note that in defining the current year, the year of the Saturn/Regulus conjunction, in order to maintain consistency with respect to both the Regulus year and the lunar year, the current year needs to contain both a full Regulus year and a full lunar year. So we begin at Regulus’ crossing of the Sun, continuing on into the Hebrew New Year, and then ending at the following Hebrew New Year. This makes the current year actually a bit longer than one single year, with a segment C at both beginning and end of the year.

Color Coding Column 2

Ok, given all of this information in columns 4-6, we now have what we need for the color coding of Column 2. What we’re most interested in identifying is triple conjunctions of Saturn with Regulus occurring in the same year as a Venus/Regulus conjunction. This is any conjunction marked as S3 in column 4, and marked as C1, A1, B1, or C2 in column 5. Wherever these conditions are met, the year in column 2 is highlighted in blue.

In order to better recognize patterns it will also be helpful to mark the cases where the closest Venus/Regulus conjunction comes the year before or the year after the Saturn/Regulus triple conjunction. Where the Venus/Regulus conjunction comes the year before, column 2 has been highlighted in yellow, and for the year after it’s highlighted in green.

For the cases of double and single Saturn/Regulus conjunctions, these too have been color coded with blue for Venus/Regulus in the same year, yellow for Venus/Regulus the year before, and green for Venus/Regulus the year after, but in these cases lighter shades of blue, yellow, and green are used to indicate the lessened significance of the Saturn/Regulus conjunction.

Finding the most fully marked sequences in Column 2

Now, looking at Column 2 and its color coding, we can see subtle patterns similar to what we saw in Column 1, with gradual shifting of the pattern from one block of 1031 years to the next. Remembering that the most astronomically significant points are those highlighted in the darker shade of blue, the most interesting detail we find is that by subdividing the data into these 1031-year blocks, we occasionally get long unbroken sequences of this blue highlighting, occurring at the same point in each block. It’s easy to find short sequences. For instance, starting with the blue-highlighted year -4857, we get a series of 4 lasting up to the year -1764, with each occurrence being 1031 years after the previous one. But a thorough search of the data also shows two very long continuous sequences, each having 9 cases of blue highlighting in a row.

For this search of the data, a broader time span was used than what’s been included here in the table, from about 30,000 BC to 30,000 AD. Looking for all continuous series’ of 7 or more of these regularly-occurring Venus/Regulus and Saturn/Regulus co-occurrences, only 5 such series’ were found which fall at least partially within the known historical time frame from around 4000 BC or earlier up to the present time. These are:

  • -10837 to -3620 (8 occurrences in a row)
  • -9865 to -2648 (8 occurrences in a row)
  • -7037 to 180 (8 occurrences in a row)
  • -5181 to 3067 (9 occurrences in a row)
  • -4209 to 4039 (9 occurrences in a row)

But of these five, only two, the last two, fully span the known historical time frame. For our table then, the data range presented has been chosen so that it will fully display these two longest series’ of blue-highlighted occurrences. They both begin in the second block, in the upper left hand corner (‑5181) and just to the left of the lower right hand corner (‑4209). Notice in the very first block that these two positions are both highlighted in yellow, showing the second block to indeed be the starting point for the continuous blue highlighting. Then tracing these two series’ down through the years, we find that they both end in the tenth block. One more block, the eleventh and last block, has been included in the table to make this clear. Notice in the last block that the positions of these two long series’ are now occupied by yellow and green highlighting, showing that the tenth block is indeed the endpoint for these two series’ of continuous blue highlighting. Once again, what this continuous blue highlighting means astronomically is that regularly, every 1031 years, a Venus/Regulus conjunction occurred in the same year as a Saturn/Regulus triple conjunction.

Marking the maximum time period

We can see from the numbers in Column 3 that this system isn’t going to mark every Jubilee year. Because of the near-equivalence of five conjunctions to three Jubilees, we will occasionally see the pattern marking every third Jubilee year. Because of the extra 2 years included in every 1031-year period however, we find only 2-4 Jubilee years marked in this way before the pattern shifts by a year and no longer marks Jubilee years.

But notice how these numbers work out for a long time period. Though we don’t find every third Jubilee year marked, we’ll find that every third Jubilee period is marked in a meaningful way. Suppose the system is used to mark the beginning of a time period – for example, to mark the year -4150, the first Jubilee of the third 1031-year block in the table. By setting both “initial Jubilee alignment” and “discontinuity” to “0”, the table shows us how this will play out for the first nine 1031-year periods. We find the following block, beginning in the year -3119, marked two years after its first Jubilee year. And the next block, beginning in -2088, marked four years after its first Jubilee year. Then six, then eight, then ten, and so on until we see the last block of the table, beginning in the year 4098, marked sixteen years after its Jubilee year. Though the data isn’t included here in this table, if we continue this long enough into the future we find that after 24 of these 1031-year spans, 505 Jubilees later, in the year 20,595, the pattern has wrapped around to once again mark the first Jubilee year of the 1031-year span, just as it did at the beginning. This includes a transition point roughly halfway from beginning to end, at which one additional year is crossed over. This is what allows 24 two-year spans to add up to a full 49-year Jubilee. The math behind all this is fascinating, clearly showing the astronomical relevance of a 49-year cycle, and showing some equivalences that I would never have imagined:

  •  (24 x 1031) + 1 = 24,745 = 505 x 49 

where 1031 = (21 x 49) + 2

The long time period shows this pattern to be very stable, allowing for the possibility that these periods were being marked on Earth by Saturn and Venus for many thousands of years before the creation of man. There are strong opinions on how to interpret the Biblical account of creation, some insisting on a young earth and some on an old earth. This stable pattern proves nothing for either side, but does leave the door open for both views of our history.

As for the pattern itself, we see that rather than marking every Jubilee of an indefinitely long time period, the system seems to have been designed for marking the beginning and end of a time period, and for providing some indication along the way of how close to the beginning or end we are.

Marking a shorter time period

What we’ve seen here so far is the maximum length for a period marked beginning and end by this system. Now suppose we want a time span on earth to be marked beginning and end like this, by the co-occurrence of Saturn/Regulus and Venus/Regulus conjunctions in a Jubilee year, but don’t want to wait out the entire 24 thousand years. (From here on for simplicity I’ll sometimes refer to the 1031-year span as a “thousand” years.)

This is where a discontinuity in counting of Jubilee years comes in. First of all, we can readily deduce that a discontinuity of “0” years is equivalent to a discontinuity of “49” years, the length of the Jubilee cycle. This is confirmed by changing the “discontinuity” parameter in the data table from “0” to “49” and noting that nothing else changes. Then we find that by reducing the discontinuity by 2 years, we reduce the overall length of the marked time period by one thousand-year period. Continuing to reduce the length by one thousand-year period at a time by adjusting the discontinuity, we get the following results:

Length of discontinuity (in years) Length of marked period (in thousand-year spans)
0 or 49 24
47 23
45 22
43 21
41 20
39 19
37 18
35 17
33 16
30 15
28 14
26 13
24 12
22 11
20 10
18 9
16 8
14 7
12 6
10 5
8 4

 

In general the rule is simply that each two years of discontinuity represents a thousand years in the overall length of the marked time period. Note that at one point the change in length of the discontinuity is 3 years rather than 2. This is the transition point which allows the total discontinuity for 24 thousand-year periods to be 49 years, one complete Jubilee cycle, rather than just 48 years.

It’s quite a flexible system, enabling the beginning and end of any multiple of 1031-year periods (up to 24 of them) to be marked by the co-occurrence of Saturn/Regulus and Venus/Regulus conjunctions in a Jubilee year. The cost of the flexibility is just that there has to be a discontinuity at some point – a point at which the relationship of the Jubilee cycle to the historical timeline is shifted.

Aligning the marked time period to the most fully marked sequence

We’ve already seen from the highlighting of Column 2 that astronomically, the most fully-marked sequence of thousand-year periods is one of the following:

  • -5181 to 3067 (9 occurrences in a row)
  • -4209 to 4039 (9 occurrences in a row)

It seems likely that the Jubilee marking system we’re investigating was meant to mark one of these periods, or a portion of it. The ranges of years suggest possibly something as major as the beginning and ending points for man’s time on earth. Probably no one would disagree that the history of man on earth up to the present time has been at least 6000 years – so looking for a time period of 6 thousand-year spans or more contained in one of these two sequences, here are the possible time periods that this suggests:

  • -5181 to 3067 (8 spans)
  • -4209 to 4039 (8 spans)
  • -5181 to 2036 (7 spans)
  • -4209 to 3008 (7 spans)
  • -5181 to 1005 (6 spans)
  • -4209 to 1977 (6 spans)
  • -4150 to 3067 (7 spans)
  • -3178 to 4039 (7 spans)
  • -4150 to 2036 (6 spans)
  • -3178 to 3008 (6 spans)
  • -3119 to 3067 (6 spans)
  • -2147 to 4039 (6 spans)

No one would disagree either, that the starting point must have been before the year -3178, and that the endpoint must still be in the future. This allows us to eliminate half of the above cases from consideration as possibilities, leaving just the following six. Along with the time periods are shown the Jubilee alignment settings used for investigating each of these possibilities in the data table:

Time period Initial Jubilee alignment Discontinuity
-5181 to 3067 (8 spans) -2 16
-5181 to 2036 (7 spans) -2 14
-4209 to 4039 (8 spans) -10 16
-4209 to 3008 (7 spans) -10 14
-4150 to 3067 (7 spans) 0 14
-4150 to 2036 (6 spans) 0 12

 

To get a feel for how this works, go ahead and plug these “initial Jubilee alignment” and “discontinuity” settings into the data table, to verify that the Column 3 highlighting does indeed point to the starting and ending years of each time period.

Comparing with historical datapoints

It’s time for a reality check. We now have six possible time periods to investigate, to see which of these, if any, could reasonably have been the intended target for the Jubilee marking system that seems to have been built into the solar system. Will any of these proposed time periods line up with historically-known Jubilees and Sabbath years? If not, then this has been just a tedious exercise in speculation. If on the other hand we do find a match, given the small probability of these things having all lined up just by chance, it will be something to take rather seriously.

Pre-exile

Given the possibility that there was a break between the pre-exile and post-exile Sabbath/Jubilee year schedules, we’ll handle the two cases separately. Beginning with pre-exile dates, Benedict Zuckermann’s work provides us with the following two Jubilee years:

623/622 BC – 18th year of Josiah, a Jubilee year
574/573 BC – The year of the Ezekiel 40 vision, 25th year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, a Jubilee year

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Sabbatical_Years, in the section entitled “Sabbaticals in the First Temple period”. Note that though we’re using the dates reported by this article, we’re not following everything that it says. The article claims that a Jubilee year is a Sabbath year. Though this is an interpretation followed by some, the interpretation I take to be correct is that a Jubilee year comes the year after a Sabbath year.)

Sabbath and Jubilee years are Hebrew lunar years which begin and end in the fall. So the date 623/622 BC means the Hebrew year which began in the fall of 623 BC and ended in the fall of 622 BC. For the computations of this study, I’m representing these Hebrew years in terms of their starting point, which for these two years is 623 BC and 574 BC. And then converting to the astronomical numbering system for years, they become -622 and -573. Checking for consistency, we find that 622 – 573 = 49. So if one is indeed a Jubilee year, it follows that the other is too, since they’re exactly 49 years apart.

To evaluate our six possibilities, we’ll look at the “initial Jubilee alignment” value for each one, plug it into the data table, and see how the result compares with the historically determined Jubilee years. Evaluating the first two, both having a “-2” alignment, we find that the Jubilees predicted by this alignment do not match the historical Jubilees. They’re two years off:

Year point in Jubilee cycle nearest Jubilee year historical Jubilee year
-615 9 -615 – 9 =  -624   -622 
-586 -11 -586 + 11 =  -575   -573 

 

Now evaluating the next two, both having a “-10” alignment, we find that this alignment doesn’t predict the correct Jubilees either. These are ten years off:

Year point in Jubilee cycle nearest Jubilee year historical Jubilee year
-615 17 -615 – 17 =  -632   -622 
-586 -3 -586 + 3 =  -583   -573 

 

And then evaluating the last two, both with a “0” alignment, this time we get a match:

Year point in Jubilee cycle nearest Jubilee year historical Jubilee year
-615 7 -615 – 7 =  -622   -622 
-586 -13 -586 + 13 =  -573   -573 

 

So this has been quite productive. The pre-exile historical constraints have eliminated four of the six possible time periods, but yet they haven’t eliminated everything. They’ve left us with these two possibilities to further evaluate:

Time period Initial Jubilee alignment Discontinuity
-4150 to 3067 (7 spans) 0 14
-4150 to 2036 (6 spans) 0 12

 

Post-exile

Zuckermann’s work also provides us with the following post-exile Sabbath years:

136/135 BC – Siege of Ptolemy in the fortress of Dagon by John Hyrcanus, a Sabbath year
38/37 BC – Siege of Jerusalem by Herod the Great, a Sabbath year
68/69 AD – Year before the destruction of the 2nd Temple, a Sabbath year

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Sabbatical_Years, in the section entitled “Sabbatical years in the Second Temple period”)

For our calculations, again we’ll adjust these numbers to the astronomical year marking the beginning of the Sabbath year, -135, -37, and 68. Checking these numbers for consistency with each other:

(68 + 135)/7 = 203/7 = 29
(68 + 37)/7 = 105/7 = 15

So if one of these dates is indeed a Sabbath year, it follows that the others are too, because a whole number of 7-year Sabbath cycles elapsed between them. To evaluate our two remaining possible time periods, we’ll now look at the “discontinuity” value for each one, plug it into the data table, and see how the result compares with the historically determined post-exile Sabbath years. Evaluating the first one, having a 14-year discontinuity, we find that the Sabbath years predicted by this alignment do not match the historical Sabbath years. They’re two years off:

Year point in Jubilee cycle nearest Jubilee year nearest Sabbath year historical Sabbath year
-114 4 -114 – 4 = -118 -118 – 1 – 7 – 7 =  -133   -135 
-26 -6 -26 + 6 = -20 -20 – 1 – 7 – 7 =  -35   -37 
62 -16 62 + 16 = 78 78 – 1 – 7 =  70   68 

 

But evaluating the last one, having a 12-year discontinuity, we get a match:

Year point in Jubilee cycle nearest Jubilee year nearest Sabbath year historical Sabbath year
-114 6 -114 – 6 = -120 -120 – 1 – 7 – 7 =  -135   -135 
-26 -4 -26 + 4 = -22 -22 – 1 – 7 – 7 =  -37   -37 
62 -14 62 + 14 = 76 76 – 1 – 7 =  68   68 

 

So the post-exile historical constraints have eliminated one of the remaining two possible time periods, and we still have one time period which has passed every test. It’s in agreement with both the pre-exile and post-exile historical data. Zuckermann doesn’t make any claims for where the post-exile Jubilees should fall, but yet we now have all the information needed to nail this down too. With initial Jubilee alignment set to “0” as determined by the pre-exile Jubilees, and the discontinuity set to “12” as determined by the post-exile Sabbath years, the post-exile Jubilees can now be read from the data table by subtracting the Column 3 “point in Jubilee cycle” from the Column 2 “year of S/R conjunction”. We’ll find a very significant one to be at -527 +15 = -512. Then looking to more modern times, we find a Jubilee at 1977 + 10 = 1987, and another one at 2036 + 0 = 2036.

Stop here and ponder this. There are 49 possible ways for a 49-year cycle to be aligned with the historical time line. So to find exact agreement between our historical records and one of the possible alignments marked in the stars is not a trivial thing. I take it as strong evidence that what we’re seeing marked in the stars is genuine – a time line placed there by the Creator’s intentional design.

Reviewing the result

The series that the combined astronomical and historical evidence points to is:

Time period Initial Jubilee alignment Discontinuity
-4150 to 2036 (6 spans) 0 12

 

The data table from beginning to end of this time period is long enough that it doesn’t all fit on one screen or page for easy viewing. So for an overview of what we now have when the data table is aligned to this series, let’s look at just the starting year of each 1031-year block.

Note again that this starting year has earned its position as the starting year. From the astronomical perspective, it’s one of only two years which for every block is marked by both a triple Saturn/Regulus conjunction and a Venus/Regulus conjunction (represented by the blue highlighting). The one other year which shows this blue highlighting for every block (the series -4209 to 4039) also seems astronomically significant, but was disqualified from this primary role by the historical perspective, when we saw that the Jubilee alignment it suggested would fail to mark the historical pre-exile Jubilees, missing them by 10 years. Looking at just these starting years then, and their relationship to the Jubilee cycle, we can now get a feel for how the overall system is functioning:

Beginning of the 1031-yr block Point in Jubilee cycle Numbering of Jubilees
-4150 0 0
-3119 2 21
-2088 4 42
-1057 6 63
-26 -4 84
1005 -2 105
2036 0 126

 

Two points, the beginning point and the endpoint, are most specially marked. The zero in the second column shows that these years are Jubilee years. For the second block, beginning in -3119, the “2” in the second column shows that the astronomical marking – the co-occurrence of the Venus/Regulus conjunction and the Saturn/Regulus triple – happened 2 years after the Jubilee year. Then 4 years after the Jubilee year for the third block, and 6 years after the Jubilee for the fourth block. In general what we’re seeing so far is that up until the discontinuity, the relationship of the astronomical marking to the Jubilee cycle tells us how much time has passed since the beginning. The number of years between the Jubilee and the astronomical marking, divided by 2, is the number of thousand-year blocks which have passed.

Following this pattern for the fifth block, the one beginning in the year -26, we would expect then to see “8” as the point in the Jubilee cycle. But as a result of the 12-year discontinuity we now need to subtract 12, giving us “-4” instead as the point in the Jubilee cycle. What the negative number tells us is that now the astronomical marking is occurring before the Jubilee year rather than after it. Specifically the “-4” says that the astronomical marking precedes the Jubilee year by 4 years. And as we saw for the pre-exile dates, dividing this by 2 also gives us a number of thousand-year blocks – two of them in this case. But now rather than indicating the time span since the beginning of the cycle, it indicates the time left until the end of the cycle. So suddenly as a result of the discontinuity, it’s as if we’ve jumped ahead by 18 blocks in the 24-block cycle, to where rather than being just 4 thousand-year blocks from the beginning, we’re now just 2 thousand-year blocks from the end.

The last two blocks then proceed as expected. The sixth block shows the astronomical marking 2 years before the Jubilee year, indicating that we’re now one block from the end of the cycle. And then the last block shows the astronomical marking in the Jubilee year, ending the cycle just as it began.

Examining the discontinuity in counting of Jubilees

Looking at the data table again, we’ll now go back to that black line in Column 3 between the years ‑586 and ‑556, and do a more careful investigation of the discontinuity in counting of Jubilees. At some point as a result of the Babylonian exile, the counting of years for Sabbath and Jubilee year purposes must have been discontinued, and then was resumed at some later date. As far as I know there is no historical record of when the counting ceased and when it was resumed. This is why there’s been so much uncertainty in the placement of post-exile Jubilees. Some researchers don’t accept that there was any break – and those who do still don’t offer any guess as to the length of the break. But having now determined that a break of 12 years (or equivalently, 61 years, since 12 years + one Jubilee = 61 years) produces the most reasonable alignment of the Jubilee marking system, let’s investigate how this break might have played out in real life.

Starting point

A reasonable starting point would be when the exile began. The three possible dates for this are:

  • 605 BC when Jerusalem was first besieged (apparently in a relatively minor way) and some Israelites including Daniel were taken captive to Babylon.
  • 597 BC when Jerusalem and the Temple were sacked, and King Jehoiachin and many others were exiled to Babylon.
  • 587 or 586 BC when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed

The 597 BC event seems to be the one that Ezekiel took to be most significant. It apparently was on this date that both he and King Jehoiachin were exiled, and this is used as a reference point throughout the book of Ezekiel. For example:

  • On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin—the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. Ezekiel 1:2-3
  • In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!”  Ezekiel 33:21
  • In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city—on that very day the hand of the LORD was upon me and he took me there. Ezekiel 40:1

Also in a previous study, “Rediscovering an Ancient Chronology”, the 70 years of Jerusalem’s desolation was found to most likely refer to the span from this 597 BC exile up to the astronomically well-marked year 527 BC (one of only three known cases of a triple conjunction of Saturn or Jupiter with Regulus beginning at the Hebrew New Year, co-occurring in the same year with an exceptionally close Venus/Jupiter conjunction) This was after the decree of Cyrus, when some of the exiles first returned to Jerusalem and attempted to begin rebuilding the Temple – so the date 527 BC seems at first to be out of place. But when they attempted to rebuild the Temple they were met by much opposition and weren’t able to continue. It wasn’t until after 527 BC, about the year 520 BC, that they were finally freed up from opposition, when Darius renewed the decree of Cyrus. So perhaps there was a reason for the initial opposition – simply that they didn’t yet have God’s hand of protection and provision, because the 70 years of desolation actually weren’t yet completed.

So 597 BC seems to be a reasonable starting point for the discontinuity. Let’s go ahead and try it here, and see if it could be part of a reasonable scenario.

Ending point

Now, a break of 12 years will only get us to a year or two after the destruction of Jerusalem. Clearly not a long enough time period. But what about 61 years?

We find some interesting things coming together in 537 BC. By Daniel’s reckoning, this is in the second and third years of Cyrus, so Cyrus has already made the decree that the Temple is to be rebuilt, and some of the exiles have returned to Jerusalem to work on this. But yet Daniel is troubled, and in Daniel 10-11 we find him fasting and praying for 3 weeks, seeking God’s guidance. Why is he troubled? There had been a total lunar eclipse six months before at Passover, the evening of April 23. Maybe he’s wondering what this means. Maybe he’s heard that the rebuilding of the Temple isn’t going so smoothly. Maybe he’s wondering where they’ve missed God’s guidance. He clearly recalls hearing Jeremiah prophesy just before his own exile in 605 BC that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years. But maybe even Daniel isn’t entirely sure from what point these 70 years are to be counted. So just after the New Year he begins to fast and seek the Lord.

  • He begins on day 3 of the New Year, Oct 7, the first Sabbath of the year
  • On day 10, Oct 14, the second Sabbath of the year, he observes the holy day of Yom Kippur
  • On day 13, Oct 17, the day before Sukkot, he experiences another total lunar eclipse, this time at sunrise

Then on day 24, in the early morning of Oct 28, the fourth Sabbath of the year when he’s now been fasting for three weeks, while he’s out on the riverbank with some companions watching the beginning of a double conjunction of Jupiter with Regulus, an angel comes in response to his prayers, bringing his period of fasting to an end.

The two total eclipses are quite significant in their timing and orientation. Lunar eclipses are most visually striking when they occur on the horizon, at sunset or sunrise, and that’s where both of these occurred – at sunset of Passover and at sunrise of the day before Sukkot.

And then we get another astronomical event, the Jupiter/Regulus conjunction, beginning just as the angel comes to deliver a message to Daniel. The year is just beginning as Daniel fasts and observes the second eclipse. The eclipses seem likely to be saying that something is coming to an end. Could it be that part of the message to Daniel is that now, beginning at this New Year, is the time to resume the count for Sabbath and Jubilee years? Just speculation to be sure – but how many years would that be? Would it fit?

Let’s take a look. A careful accounting of years, keeping in mind that Sabbath years are counted from the Hebrew New Year, in the fall, gives me this:

  • Fall 598 BC – Last year count before the exile
  • Spring 597 BC – Jerusalem and Temple sacked, Jehoiachin & Ezekiel exiled
  • Spring 537 BC – Total lunar eclipse at Passover
  • Fall 537 BC – Total lunar eclipse at Sukkot, Daniel 10-11 vision, year count resumed – first year count after the exile

So it fits. From the last pre-exile count in the fall of 598 BC to Daniel’s vision in the fall of 537 BC is a gap of 61 years. If one of the things Daniel did in response to the angel’s message was to resume the counting of years for Sabbath and Jubilee purposes, this would give us the exact discontinuity required for the ideal alignment of the Jubilee marking system.

And another path to the same answer

By the pre-exile Jubilee schedule, as we saw from Zuckermann’s data, there was a Jubilee in 623 BC, in Josiah’s 18th year. This was the last Jubilee before the exile. So what are we to make of the 574 BC Jubilee which was still following the pre-exile schedule – the one which corresponds to the vision of Ezekiel 40 – 48?

Well, it turns out that this was a specially marked Jubilee. In the middle of this Jubilee year, at Passover of April 2, 573 BC, we again see a total lunar eclipse. This is quite a rare thing, for a total lunar eclipse, aligned with the Hebrew year by occurring at Passover (month 1) or Sukkot (month 7), to also occur in a Jubilee year. Other occurrences can be found, but this was the first such occurrence since the year 2436 BC. Once again we’re seeing a lunar eclipse carrying a message, and as with Daniel’s eclipses, the message seems to be that something is coming to an end. In this case what’s coming to an end is the pre-exile schedule of Jubilees.

If we now jump ahead by 61 years from this Jubilee, it takes us to a very significant place – the very first Jubilee of the new, post-exile schedule of Sabbath and Jubilee years, in 513 BC, with this one being marked by both a Jupiter/Regulus triple beginning at the Hebrew New Year and an exceptionally close Venus/Jupiter conjunction. (This kind of marking is seen in only two other places – marking the end of the 70-year desolation of Jerusalem, and marking the year of the Messiah’s birth. It seems always to be associated with positive, joyful events.) And between this last of the old and first of the new, we find an additional astronomical sign, perhaps to help lead the way from one to the other:

  • 574 BC, Ezekiel’s Jubilee, with total eclipse at Passover, the last Jubilee of the pre-exile schedule
  • 525 BC (49 years later) Jupiter/Regulus triple beginning at Hebrew New Year, in what would have been a Jubilee year by the pre-exile schedule
  • 513 BC (12 years later) Jupiter/Regulus triple beginning at Hebrew New Year, plus exceptionally close Venus/Jupiter conjunction, the first Jubilee of the post-exile schedule, Daniel’s 7 sevens

So a 61-year discontinuity in the counting of years for Sabbath/Jubilee purposes not only produces the ideal alignment of the Jubilee marking system, but also is supported by two possible scenarios for how it came about. Perhaps the first scenario is what Daniel followed to arrive at the new Jubilee schedule; with the second perhaps being followed by Ezekiel to arrive at the very same answer.

Interestingly, once the 61-year gap is put in place, we can see that the 70 years of desolation actually began and ended in Sabbath years (598 BC and 528 BC), but by the new, post-exile schedule rather than by the old, pre-exile schedule. This totally makes sense, given that Daniel’s 7 sevens and 62 sevens were also all real Sabbath cycles, ending in Sabbath years. This suggests strongly that the same is to be true for Daniel’s one remaining seven, the 70th seven – that it too will be a real Sabbath cycle, ending in a Sabbath year.

Man’s week on earth

It’s interesting to note that the major period into which this Saturn/Venus cycle subdivides history is about 1000 years in length, or 1031 years, to be precise. There’s a tradition that the history of the world can be represented as seven periods of 1000 years – six of these from creation to the millennial reign of the Messiah, and one more for the Millennium. I don’t know where this tradition comes from originally, but I take it to probably be a tradition of the Jews passed down by the Rabbis. I see it reflected in the overall time scale used by the Jewish calendar website, TorahCalendar.com.

Though I have issues with their implementation of this tradition on the calendar – in particular their adherence to a 50-year Jubilee cycle which I’m convinced is not an accurate understanding of the Biblical Jubilee cycle – I see now that the general idea of the tradition matches up quite well with the periods marked in the stars. It’s likely that the 50-year Jubilee interpretation had to be chosen just because it was the only way to make the Jubilees line up with a period of precisely 1000 years. By their system, the thousand years would consist of 20 of these 50-year Jubilee cycles. But the insight which might now allow them to adopt the 49-year Jubilee cycle is that the thousand years is not a precise number, but a rounded number. If we take “1000 years” to be just an approximation which actually refers to this 1031-year period, and the Jubilee cycles to be 49 years in length, we find the thousand years to be made up of 21 Jubilees, plus the extra 2 years we’ve previously discussed.

So, if we look at these thousand-year periods as actually being precisely 1031 years in length, where do we find ourselves after 6 or 7 of these periods? Six of these “thousand-year” periods give us a span of 6186 years which, if begun in the year -4150, brings us to the year 2036. And seven of these periods make up a span of 7217 years, which brings us to the year 3067. So this tradition of 7 thousand-year periods when applied to the time frame we’ve found marked in the heavens, suggests the possibility of the Messiah’s return in 2036, and His reigning up to the year 3067. Interestingly, 3067 is also the very last in the series of 1031-year periods marked by Saturn/Venus – as if it were designed to be exactly this way – no longer needed for anything after the end of the millennium, being replaced by the brand-new heaven and earth of Revelation 21.

Though I’m not aware of any place where Scripture explicitly mentions this idea of man’s time on earth being made up of 7 thousand-year periods, 2 Peter 3:8 does suggest an interesting thought. “…do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” If we think of each thousand-year period as one day, what do 7 of these thousand-year periods give us? Exactly one week. One week, in which the first six days, our work days, correspond to the time from the creation of man up to the Messiah’s return. And then the last day corresponds to the seventh day of the week, our Sabbath rest in the Messiah’s millennial reign.

Let’s look at our table of the thousand-year blocks once more in light of this, and add the one more block suggested by these ideas:

Beginning of the 1031-yr block Point in Jubilee cycle Numbering of Jubilees
-4150 0 0
-3119 2 21
-2088 4 42
-1057 6 63
-26 -4 84
1005 -2 105
2036 0 126
3067 2 147

 

For the first six blocks, the total length is 126 Jubilees, made up of 6 spans of 21 Jubilees each. When we add on the seventh block, we get the familiar number “147” for the total number of Jubilees represented. This is the same number that aligns Saturn to the Jubilee cycle, representing both three Jubilees and five of Saturn’s cycles. So this seventh period brings with it a feeling of completeness, suggesting that perhaps we’re seeing the whole picture now.

For the first six blocks, each one brings with it an extra 2 years, and this total of 12 extra years is exactly canceled out by the 12 year discontinuity. The last block also brings with it an extra 2 years. So though the date for the final astronomical marking is 3067, the date of the final Jubilee year would be 3065. A Jubilee year however is not an ending, but the beginning of what is to follow. So perhaps most properly, the end of this entire period would be seen as the Sabbath year preceding that Jubilee, 3064/3065, the year beginning in 3064 and ending in 3065.

The halfway point in man’s week on earth

Now looking at this series of 7 thousand-year periods, notice what happens half-way through, when about 3 ½ periods have passed. This is where we encounter the discontinuity in counting of the Jubilee/Sabbath year cycles during the Babylonian exile. Right in the middle, halfway between -1057 and -26. It’s an interesting symmetry. The precise centerpoint would be the year -542 or -541, and though this year doesn’t seem to have any particular meaning, it does occur in that undefined zone between old and new, during the Babylonian exile:

Jubilee discontinuity

Conclusion

These things represent the best fit for the Sabbath and Jubilee cycles when considering both astronomical alignments and the known historical datapoints. It normally would not be expected that history should be in perfect agreement with astronomical alignments such as these. They would be expected probably to point to very different solutions if any at all, rather than converging on a single solution as we’ve seen here. So the fact that they have converged on one solution, I take to be strong evidence for that solution’s reality.

However, at this point it’s just the study and opinions of one analyst. It’s yet to be seen whether these observations will hold up under the close scrutiny of other scholars. But do look it over carefully. The astronomical details have been worked through quite thoroughly and can all be checked out and verified. The pattern is real.

Am I making a claim for the date of creation and the date of the Messiah’s return? Actually I’m not. There is evidence here which could possibly be used in that way, but especially in the case of looking ahead to the future, I think it’s important to keep in mind that those times and seasons are in the Father’s hands. The important focus here is just to recognize that for all these things to line up so neatly, showing a coherent system by which historical eras have actually been astronomically marked, strongly suggests that they were intentionally designed this way, for a purpose. For what purpose? The Scriptures talk a bit about this in the book of Genesis. “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’ ” Gen 1:14

Think about this. There’s no one but the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth, who could possibly have had the foreknowledge and ability to design this, and by His placement of each planet in the Solar System, to implement that design. We need to let these observations point us to this designer – to let it stand as evidence for His existence and His identity – that He’s the same One who revealed Himself long ago to Abraham, to Moses, and to the prophets who followed them, and whose words were carefully recorded for us in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Through God’s revelation to Moses the Hebrew people were given a 49-year cycle of Jubilee years. They didn’t claim any relationship between this 49-year cycle and the cycles of the planets, but yet here it stands, for us to see and examine. At the time of Moses, who would have understood the deep significance of a 49-year cycle? Who would have known, that to match up with the cycles of the ages marked out by the planets, this cycle needed to be not 48, not 50, but 49 years? No human could have known, unless this too was given by direct revelation.

Once we’ve thought these things through, and recognized the Creator for who He is, this will open the door for us to understand the nature of our relationship to Him. As we begin to look into the Scriptures, we’ll come to understand that as a result of rebellion against Him, we’ve been alienated from Him, but that He’s made a way for us to be reconciled.

 

Afterthoughts

One thing that worries me a little in making this information widely available, is that the beginning point it suggests for the marked time span is similar to the starting dates used in Young Earth Creationism for the history of the world. So am I claiming that the earth and the whole universe were created just 6000 years ago?

No, actually I’m not. There are some who might draw that conclusion from these observations, and I’m not their referee, to tell them how to interpret the evidence. But personally I would take the “starting date” we see here to be the beginning of day 7 of the Genesis creation account, after Adam and Eve had been created on day 6, and with the earth and universe having been under construction for quite some time before day 6 began.

Part of my rationale for this interpretation is that day 7 of creation appears to be much longer than just a 24-hour day. It begins in Genesis 1:31-2:2 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”  But the Genesis account never says “and there was evening and there was morning—the seventh day.”  It’s left open-ended, suggesting the possibility that an ongoing long period of time is being referred to as a “day”. Then in Hebrews 4:1-4 we see confirmation that after all these many years, God’s Sabbath rest has still not come to an end. Verse 1: Since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. And verses 3-4: Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”

If this is the case we might ask, that the Sabbath rest of God’s seventh day of Creation is still ongoing, then how do we account for all the things God has been doing since His Creation was completed? All His interactions with the people of Israel for instance – leading them out of Egypt, providing for them in the wilderness, and delivering their enemies into their hands when they entered the land He’d promised them? And then working in similar ways in each of our lives. This doesn’t sound like rest.

This question is answered in part by a conversation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders in John 5:16-18. Jesus had just healed a man on the Sabbath, and told him to pick up his mat and walk. This went against the laws of the Jewish leaders – so “because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” Just as His Father continues to do His work on the Sabbath, Jesus is saying that He must do the same.

In Luke 13:15, in response to another conflict with the Jewish leaders over the Sabbath, Jesus says, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

So when we see evidence of God’s hand working in our world and in our lives, especially when this work involves caring for His own, and freeing us from the enemy’s power, we can look at this as a perfectly normal thing for our Father to be doing during His Sabbath rest. His Sabbath rest beginning in Genesis may well be a period of rest from the specific work of Creation, but it doesn’t mean just sitting back and doing nothing.

In the patterns of years that we’ve explored here we’ve already seen the embedding of sevens, meaning that seven of one unit (the day or the year for example) taken together become one of a larger unit (the week or the 7-year Sabbath cycle) – with sevens of sevens, and even and 49’s of 49’s showing up in the astronomically marked patterns. So in keeping with this embedding of sevens it would seem reasonable to take the entire “week” of man’s time on earth to be equivalent to God’s Sabbath rest, day 7 of creation, preceded by six more of these very long days, on which all of God’s creative work was accomplished. This would suggest that God’s Sabbath rest from the work of creation comes to an end when the Messiah’s millennial reign on earth comes to an end. We see this described in Revelation 21:1-5:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Making everything new! His day of rest has come to an end, and right away we see His creative work resuming in a profoundly ambitious project – making everything new.

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  1. […] Restoring the Timetable of Sabbath and Jubilee Years […]

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